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New Year's Resolution: Why your organization needs to get healthy

The most important, critical, and volatile asset any organization has is the human asset. That’s right, good old “Human Capital.” Any way you call it, your employees are the lifeblood and face of your business. They are costly to hire and train; can be a challenge to manage; and often can be the source of overwhelming conflict and drama.

On the flip side, they are also the cause of prodigious organizational success through championing customer retention and satisfaction; expert skill; loyalty; community service; enhanced reputation, and so much more. It’s the proverbial “double-edged sword.”

The Human Resources department has the important (and often unenviable) task of assuring that more of the “flip side” emerges. When working with humans, that can be a challenge. Your particular Human Resources department might have 10 people in it, or it might just be you. Regardless of the size, employee morale, productivity and your bottom line are at stake!

It wasn’t all that long ago that employers weren’t all that concerned about the health, safety and well-being of their workers. Today, that can no longer be the case. Research clearly shows that healthy and vibrant employees:

  • Perform with increased productivity
  • Are less likely to be absent
  • Have fewer workplace accidents
  • Reduce medical insurance and workers compensation insurance premiums
  • Have less internal conflict (aka drama)
  • Enhance the image of your organization

BOOM! That’s all good stuff, you say. How do you make that happen?

It happens when the HR department becomes the driving force in creating a culture of safety and wellness. This is easier said than done.

Make a Commitment

The CEO or president (aka the head honcho) needs to buy in. I mean all the way in. Without support for any initiative around a safe workplace and overall employee wellness, the project will fail. The CEO must delegate the implementation to the group of people (or person) that most deals with the humans in the workplace (see HR department). He or she must give full support, both visibly and behind closed doors.

The HR Response

In my experience, HR professionals really care about the overall welfare and prosperity of both the company and its employees. In the midst of an already heavy workload, any employee wellness initiative must be viewed as an opportunity to improve the condition of the organization and its people. Ultimately, it makes their jobs easier and more fun.

The 5-Step Plan

  1. Create a wellness “team.” This team can be made up of a cross-section of employees (or all employees if you’re a small company). This team is tasked with brainstorming ideas that will advance workplace safety and overall wellness.
  2. Collect data to drive efforts. This can be done via a simple survey of what employees’ interests are, and what they’d like to accomplish. Don’t overlook issues like stress management.
  3. Craft a plan. This means objectives, measures of success, and long-term goals for the company. This should remain simple. The more complicated, the more likelihood of failure. Start with simple and grow over time. Example — you might choose to offer a smoking cessation program, or put healthy food choices in vending machines.
  4. Be accountable to each other. Set up a support system; perhaps monthly meetings to help each other to become better educated on choices they are making.
  5. Monitor progress. Nothing is perfect out of the gates, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. Make tweaks as needed, yet also celebrate successes.

Results

Let’s not kid ourselves. Business always has been and will be about results. The Seattle Mariners have one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball, yet nobody shows up if the team doesn’t show results in wins. Likewise, your business will simply not thrive if you don’t have positive results that come out of the human resources side of the dugout.

If you commit to supporting and nurturing an employee wellness program like the one I describe, here is what you can expect:

  • Lower insurance premiums that benefit your bottom line and profitability
  • Healthier and happier employees that stick around longer and add value to your reputation and credibility
  • You will be attractive to new, talented individuals that might want to come work for you. When you consider the diversity in generations in the workplace, you must consider that company culture and rewards are highly sought after by younger employees.
  • You will actually weed out those who don’t bring value to your team. Let’s be honest, all employees aren’t created equal. Steve Jobs used to say he only wanted “A players” at Apple. This is one of the best ways to load up on those “A players,” while the “C and D players” self-select out!
  • When all this happens, then you will have less stress, more fun and more money in the coffers that you can keep and share with your team. Who knows? You might even get healthier yourself!

Bottom line — Make yourself a New Year’s Resolution this year that will create healthy employees and a healthy return on investment for you. Allow the Human Resources department the time and flexibility to manage it and then support them. They are in charge of your most valuable assets.

You will be happy you did!

Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps business leaders and executives to become stronger leaders, grow their businesses, and enrich their lives. He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at dan [at] danweedin [dot] com or visit his web site at www.DanWeedin.com.

 
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